This route starts at the junction of Hwy 49 and Hwy 26 at Mokelumne Hill, take Hwy 26 East from the junction about 1 mile and turn right onto Jesus Maria Road and continue East to Railroad Flat Road. At Railroad Flat Road turn right and continue South for about 4 miles and turn left onto Sheep Ranch Road. Continue on Sheep Ranch Road all the way to the stop sign in Murphys. At the stop sign turn right and follow the town road about 1/4 mile as it sweeps left to another stop sign at the Murphys Grade. Turn right onto the Murphys Grade and head West to Angles Camp. Just before you get into town turn right onto Dogtown Road. Follow Dogtown road North to Calaveritas Road and turn left. Continue on Calaveritas Road into the town of San Andreas and the junction of Hwy 49. Turn right on Hwy 49 and follow it North to the starting point of Mokelumne Hill.
Jesus Maria drops down into a small river valley and then climbs up the foothills to Railroad flat. This whole area burned in a fire in 2017 but has really grown back except for the big trees that were here. The fire did not effect the upper part which is still covered in forests and ranch land. Railroad flat to Murphys covers a lot of beautiful upper foothills and is full of color in the fall. The Murphys Grade takes you back down to the lower foothills and onto large oak covered ranches. The town of Calaveritas is a cool little town with a one lane road going through it.
This route is full of twisties, if they aren't your thing I would skip this ride. If twists, turns and elevation changes are your thing I would challenge you to find a route that is more fun! Jesus Maria was repaved all the way to railroad flat in 2020, and it just makes this road epic. No traffic except for locals and that is the case all the way to Murphys. The Murphys Grade and Hwy 49 are the only roads on this ride that are relatively straight and wide. The lower foothills on Dogtown and Calaveritas roads get you right back into big fun twisties!
Murphys offers the best place to have a drink and something to eat. If at the junction of the Murphys grade you turn left instead of right you will go through the old part of town with many dining opportunities. As mentioned above the old mining town of Calaveritas is unique but little to offer in amenities.
I rode this route yesterday, exactly as described. I have to say that perhaps is a good idea to warn the rider of the conditions on Sheep Ranch and Dogtown rds! Terrible but can be fun with the right attitude/bike. I got enough of it on Sheep Ranch and would have avoided Dogtown (going straight to 49 in Angels Camps) if I knew more bumps were in store. Nevertheless I enjoyed the ride very much. Especially on top of the hill were the Caverns (still closed to public) are. Beautiful and peaceful place, I wanted to hang out there more, good idea to bring lunch and stop there to eat. Also lovely river spots on the road. A beautiful stretch was also Murphy-Grade road, to which I want to return and ride on the other side. Yes, overall a good adventurous ride, out there in nature with spotty internet connection. Write down the instructions!